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Understanding how WordPress works

From: WordPress Essential Training

Video: Understanding how WordPress works

When you own or operate a website running WordPress, So when you access WordPress on your server, you're actually running this And, there's a configuration file named WP-config, Right now lets take a closer look at the WP config file.

Understanding how WordPress works

When you own or operate a website running WordPress, it's important that you understand how WordPress actually works. It's one thing to understand how you can use the web interface of WordPress to manage content. But it's also important to understand the inner workings of WordPress, itself. Both how the application works, and also how it communicates with a database and other files. What you see here on the screen, is WordPress. On the left hand side is the application itself. It consists of a series of files that usually are prefixed with WP dash, and then something, and then three main folders; WP-Admin, WP-Content, and WP-Include.

On the right hand side, you have the WordPress database. Now, when I set up my WordPress installation on this computer, I used wp underscore as the prefix for my database tables. If you changed your database tables to something else, you'll see that prefix instead. So when you access WordPress on your server, you're actually running this piece of software that you see here on the right hand side. The software has several different components. It's the main application, and within the main application you have an Admin panel.

You have all your content, which includes your Plug Ins, your Themes, your Upgrades, and also, any uploads. So, all the images that you sent up to your site are stored here. And, there's a configuration file named WP-config, that helps Word Press talk to the database. The database has different tables for the different types of content you have inside your WordPress site. You have Comments and Comment meta data. You have Links. You have Options. You have Posts and Post meta data.

You have taxonomy, that would be the categories and tags. You have Users and User meta and so on. So any time you make a change, either inside WordPress Admin, or you create something new, like a new Post or Page, all that information is sent into this database. Now that you see there's a clear separation here between WordPress, the application, and the database that contains all of your settings and information. It should become clear that WordPress itself has nothing to do with the information you enter into Wordpress.

That also means, if something goes wrong with WordPress, if it stops working properly or if an update crashes, you can actually just remove the application and then just replace it with a newer version, and it'll come back up again. The only thing within WordPress, this set of files that you need to keep. Is the WP config files which is the configuration file that helps you talk to the data base and the WP content folder which contains all your uploads, themes, and plugins. Right now lets take a closer look at the WP config file.

'Kay so this the file that helps WordPress talk to the database. The wp-config file is the only file within WordPress, the application, that you have to set up to get WordPress to work. Now if you used the five minute install that comes with WordPress, WordPress itself would create this file for you, but in some cases you have to configure it on your own. If something were to go wrong with your WordPress site, or you need to do a hard update, or you need to take over management of a WordPress site you didn't set up, it's always a good idea to go into the WPconfig file, and find out how it's set up.

Here you see there isn't all that much information. What matters is the top here, where you have your MySQL settings, here you have your database name. Your database username and password, and also the database host name. Further down, you have your KEYS and SALTS. So I haven't installed these here because this site is running locally on my computer. But normally you would have authentication keys here, that make it harder for hackers to get into your site. If you don't have the authentication keys you can go to the URL that's provided right here in the WP config file and that URL will automatically create randomized keys for you that you can just paste in here in place of what you already see.

Scrolling down, there's a couple of extra interesting tidbits, here you have the Table prefix, when you set up WordPress, you define a Table prefix. But you can also define it here within the config file just remember that once you define the Table prefix, you can't change it, if you do that, then WordPress won't be able to find the Table from the database. You can also define a localized language for WordPress. By default, it's set to English, but here you can change it to another language if you want. And for developers, this is where you find the WP_DEBUG feature.

By default it's set to false, but in some cases you may want to debug either a Theme or a Plugin, or find out why something is going wrong. And in that case you can go in here change the WP debug feature to True and then you'll have debugging within WordPress itself. The chances of you having to work with a WP config file are small, but, if you have to work with the file, here you can see, that it's not all that complicated. Just like with everything else in WordPress, everything is spelled out very clearly, all the functions are semantic and easy to understand, and whenever there's something complex, there's comments within the file itself to explain to you what is needed and how this usually works.

So now that you understand how WordPress works, we'll take a look at how we can use that knowledge to figure components within WordPress.

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This video is part of

Image for WordPress Essential Training
WordPress Essential Training

59 video lessons · 77608 viewers

Morten Rand-Hendriksen

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  1. 17m 33s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. What's new in WordPress 4.0
      10m 32s
    3. What's new in 4.1 NEW
      6m 0s
  2. 11m 55s
    1. What is WordPress?
      3m 51s
    2. Setting the language of your WordPress installation UPDATED
      4m 57s
    3. WordPress, WordPress.com, and WordPress.org: What is the difference?
      3m 7s
  3. 17m 18s
    1. Installing and running WordPress
      2m 19s
    2. Accessing your WordPress site
      2m 20s
    3. Using the WordPress Dashboard
      8m 10s
    4. Using the WordPress toolbar
      4m 29s
  4. 1h 35m
    1. Understanding the difference between posts and pages
      4m 4s
    2. Creating a new post
      9m 57s
    3. Using categories and tags
      8m 19s
    4. Advanced text formatting UPDATED
      9m 32s
    5. Creating and managing links
      7m 7s
    6. Adding images
      9m 36s
    7. Adding an image gallery
      9m 59s
    8. Using Featured Image
      3m 8s
    9. Adding images from external sources
      7m 30s
    10. Adding media from YouTube and other services through oEmbed
      5m 1s
    11. Comparing and restoring old versions with Revisions
      4m 47s
    12. Publishing posts
      7m 2s
    13. Using the More tag and excerpts
      4m 36s
    14. Defining post formats
      4m 43s
  5. 11m 21s
    1. Creating a basic page
      5m 19s
    2. Using page templates
      3m 52s
    3. Organizing page hierarchy
      2m 10s
  6. 22m 24s
    1. Navigating the Dashboard index pages
      7m 40s
    2. Using Quick Edit
      2m 22s
    3. Using Bulk Edit
      4m 20s
    4. Understanding how WordPress handles media content
      8m 2s
  7. 50m 0s
    1. Selecting and changing themes
      4m 57s
    2. Using the Theme Customizer
      7m 39s
    3. Using a custom header image
      4m 59s
    4. Creating custom menus
      7m 27s
    5. Using widgets
      8m 4s
    6. Changing the front page from a blog view to a static page
      4m 50s
    7. Installing themes from the WordPress Theme Directory
      5m 28s
    8. Installing custom themes
      3m 2s
    9. Making sure your WordPress site is mobile-ready
      3m 34s
  8. 22m 15s
    1. Installing plugins
      10m 21s
    2. Creating a contact page
      4m 46s
    3. Adding social media sharing buttons with AddThis
      5m 16s
    4. Learn more about plugins
      1m 52s
  9. 34m 44s
    1. Editing your user profile
      8m 51s
    2. Creating a Gravatar profile
      4m 9s
    3. Adding and managing users
      5m 59s
    4. Understanding user levels
      6m 28s
    5. Configuring general settings
      9m 17s
  10. 19m 9s
    1. Creating user-friendly permalinks
      5m 31s
    2. Configuring comment settings
      7m 44s
    3. Managing comments
      5m 54s
  11. 13m 1s
    1. Understanding how WordPress works
      5m 40s
    2. Back-end management of themes, plugins, and other assets
      7m 21s
  12. 20m 43s
    1. Keeping up to date
      6m 20s
    2. Must-have security plugins
      5m 13s
    3. Troubleshooting a site crash
      9m 10s
  13. 9m 14s
    1. Exporting and importing content from other sites
      6m 24s
    2. Going further with WordPress: Creating themes and plugins
      2m 50s

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